Table of Content
What is Depression?
Everyone feels sorrow and sadness from time to time. It is a normal response to painful incidents. However, if these feelings persist for weeks or months, it could be a sign of depression.
Depression is a mood disorder that causes relentless feelings of sorrow or loss.
It is more than just an unhappy mood; it can leach one’s joy, energy, and interest in life. It affects your feelings, thinking, and behavior. People with depression may not recognize it. Recognize the symptoms of depression to ensure that your loved ones get the help they need.
How to Tell if Your Loved One is Dealing With Depression
Watch out for these behaviors:
Negative thoughts and negative outlook on life:
People with depression are uncharacteristically sorrowful & moody. They have a bleak outlook on life and see the worst in a situation. They tend to have mood swings. Often, they talk about feeling “helpless” or “hopeless”.
Losing interest in activities they enjoyed:
They seem disinterested in life, in general. They don’t enjoy their hobbies or interests anymore. They have lost interest in their work, friendships, and relationships. They are disengaged and “disconnected” from life. They just do not seem to care!
Change in hygiene, appetite, or sleeping patterns:
Someone who used to have a good sleep schedule now suffers from sleepless nights. Or vice versa, someone who was very active is sleeping through the day. They no longer care about their appearance or hygiene. A drastic change in appetite is also worrisome. If they suddenly start over-eating or have lost their appetite, it could be a sign of underlying mental health issues.
Loss of energy:
A very common sign in depressed people is that they lack the energy to do anything. Even basic chores seem insurmountable tasks to them. They complain about feeling tired or “drained”. They might also have frequent issues of headaches, stomach problems, etc.
Changes in how they communicate:
If there is a drastic change in your loved one’s day-to-day communication pattern, it could be indicative of the depressive disorder. For example, an outgoing person has become withdrawn and sullen. They no longer chat with friends or family. They tend to pull back from social activities.
What Not to Say to A Person fighting Depression
Ensure that you have open and honest communication with your loved ones. Do not be judgemental. Being an empathetic and understanding listener is much more important than giving advice. You don’t have to try to “fix” your depressed friend; you just have to be a good listener.
Sometimes, you might think that you are motivating or helping someone when your words might worsen their depression. Take care to never say these things to a family member of friend with depression:
- “Look on the bright side [talks about random positive things].”
- “This is all in your head.”
- “Just snap out of it”
- “Everyone has problems!”
- “It could be worse.”
- “But you don’t look depressed!”
- “You have everything! Think of all those who don’t even have three square meals a day!”
- “You think you have it bad, [talks about your own woes]”
How to Help Someone with Depression:
1. Be Supportive:
A depressed person often feels guilt and feels that they are a burden to others. Let your loved ones know that you are there to support and encourage them through their recovery. Be empathetic and kind. Do not trivialize or negate their feelings. Depression is not something they can just snap out of.
2. Have Open Communication:
If you feel that someone you know is depressed, try spending time with them. When talking, try to use “I” statements instead of “you” statements. Instead of “you seem to be moody these days”, try saying, “I’m feeling concerned because you seem upset recently, and I wonder how you are doing?” Additionally, ask them how they would like to be supported. Perhaps, they just need to vent or they might need advice. Ask: “How can I best support you right now?”
3. Encourage them to Seek Professional Help:
Depression is a genuine mental illness, mainly caused by chemical imbalances within one's brain. Just as you would seek a medical professional for a thyroid imbalance or cholesterol imbalance, you should consult a professional for depression. Instead of making depression taboo, understand that seeking help is just common sense and quite normal.
Know-How to Overcome Depression
There are many different methods for the treatment of depression. Just as you might adjust your lifestyle to rectify cholesterol/hormonal imbalances, changes in habits might help in recovery. However, if that doesn’t help, your doctor might suggest alternative treatments or medication.
Having a healthy lifestyle with consistent good habits aids in the recovery through depression. Do not binge eat or skip meals. A healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables is desirable. Avoid processed foods. Take care to have a steady sleep cycle. Go to bed and wake up at consistent times.
Studies have shown that regular physical activity can stabilize one’s moods, lift one’s spirit, and reduce stress. Going out daily for a walk also exposes a person to fresh air and sunlight, which aids in fighting depression. Stress-management techniques like meditation and mindfulness are helpful too.
Therapy for Depression:
When consulting a mental health professional, depending on the case they might suggest therapy. This could be an individual, couple, or group therapy. There are many proven therapeutic approaches to depression — counseling, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), behavioral activation, interpersonal therapy, etc.
You might need to help your depressed friend or family member with booking the sessions. You can also accompany them on their first trip to the therapist.
Medication for Depression:
Sometimes, the doctor or psychologist might suggest medication. There are many medications used in the treatment of depression. Talk with a doctor to know which ones would be suitable. Take care to NEVER self-medicate. Make note of any side effects they are experiencing and bring them up in the next session. It may take some trial and error to find the medication that suits you best.
Get Help IMMEDIATELY, if:
If someone has a preoccupation with death, talks openly about wanting to kill oneself, or starts giving away possessions, they might be suicidal.
If someone is showing signs of suicidal ideation, self-harms, or if you are worried they might attempt suicide, get urgent help!
You can always call us at +91 97414 76476 or visit our page on depression for more information!
How to deal with a depressed person?
The first step is to help them understand that they are facing the issue. If they have understood it, then slowly guide them into seeking professional help. Usually, the question we get asked is "How to deal with depressed people?". The most important thing to know is that what they are going through is no fault of their own, it is a disorder they are fighting.